Back in the 70’s, New York was a very different place. The subways were dangerous and the streets were no better, so when it came to places to eat you’d have to be foolhardy, mad, or driven mad by foolhardiness to travel more than two blocks from the safety of your apartment. This is why there are so many pizzerias in the city today.
Sure, this explanation may not be “historically accurate” or “true” but it does help explain why pizza has remained so ubiquitous across disparate neighborhoods without having to go into discussions of economics (boring) or the mineral content of our water (insufferable). We have very good pizza, perhaps the best in the world for reasons I have previously vowed not to mention, but I subscribe to the notion that there is no such thing as bad pizza. Everyone is likely to find a place they like, which on one hand is great but on the other makes ensuring you’re having “the best pizza in the city” almost impossible…for everyone but you, because you get to benefit from our Hot Pizza Takes. You lucky dog, you.
The following recommendations have been pulled from a thread on the MaxFun NYC Facebook Group.
Artichoke Basille’s (Multiple)
Most Satisfying Single Slice: This is not what you were probably thinking of when you think about a traditional New York style slice, but don’t get hung up on that. This is a buttery slice of pizza that is topped with what is essentially a ladleful of hot spinach artichoke dip. I have never seen a person finish two slices.
Di Fara (Midwood)
Best Traditional Slice: Di Fara, way down in Midwood, has done traditional coal-oven pies for something like sixty years. The place is small and sometimes has a line, but the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Don’t expect to get custom slices though, you either eat what they’ve made or you order a whole pie.
I went to Di Fara once! It really was pretty incredible pizza. And i also really enjoyed just the experience of watching this old man who had perfected his craft for years and years and years painstakingly make every pizza. It’s worth a trip, but I think it gets pretty busy. Also, don’t do take out—eat it there for the perfect crust. I think we we went right when it opened and didn’t have to wait too long at all.
Di Fara is amazing. I’m not a big fan of pizza but I think that pizza is exceptional.
Percy’s Pizza (Greenwich Village)
Best Cheapo Slice: There are plenty of places to get a super-cheap slice of pizza, but with the exception of 2 Bros. many of those places don’t actually look like they make pizza there. Certainly, none of the cheap places make a slice that actually tastes like something you’d look forward to getting. But Percy’s does, and they also offer a range of low-price (though more than $1) specialty pies you wouldn’t expect to see at a place with a giant dollar sign on the outside.
If you can stand the hip clientele (or, like me, get pick-up) Roberta’s is still really good pizza. The wood-fired pizza is delicious, with varying seasonal combinations and many ingredients grown on site. Flavorful, with just enough spice. Full pies only, no slices. Call for a reservation, the lines can be absurd.
Personal Favorite: The Axl Rosenberg—tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, garlic, jalapeno and mushroom.
Excellent crust, flaky and buttery—not thin. Liberal toppings and (pseudo) affordable. And they deliver!
Prince St. Pizza (Greenwich Village)
Sicilian style square slices at Prince St Pizza! I stayed away for a while after hearing some praises because I was skeptical that a square slice could compete with beautiful thin crust, but I was dead wrong. A plain slice is truly a delight, but the pepperoni slice is blasted in the oven, slightly charring the outer edges of the meat circles which curls up on the ends to create many tiny jacuzzis of delectable pizza oil.
Two Boots (Multiple)
I ❤️ Two Boots! And they have gluten free crust that is actually delicious and not like eating an enormous saltine. It’s a pizza miracle!
Man, Two Boots is weird like that! Last time I was at Two Boots, 3 dudes just sat down at my table and introduced themselves as members of the Argentine national relay team and each ate a whole pizza and we talked about synesthesia.
Paulie Gee’s (Greenpoint)
Paulie Gee’s 4eva! I’ve tried only a few types of pizza there, because since I encountered the Hellboy pizza, I’ve never strayed. The Hellboy is a pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, soppresata picante, and–THE BEST–Mike’s Hot Honey. Even if honey on your pizza gives you pause, trust in Paulie. They also seem to regularly have Greenpoint Milk and Honey ale on draft, which is a beer I don’t really seem to see anywhere else.
Paulie Gee’s is vegan friendly too, so win win!
Paulie Gee’s is top of the heap. Craveable. My fave is in Ricotta de Vegan.
Franny’s (Prospect Heights)
Franny’s in Brooklyn. Best pizza in NY.
Franny’s is great and the bartenders there are awesome!
Sam’s Restaurant (Cobble Hill)
Sam’s Restaurant in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, especially if you like garlic.
Koronet Pizza (Morningside Heights)
For a good solid plain slice I like Koronet in Morningside Heights.
Especially if you don’t want to eat anything else for 2 or 3 days!
I miss living 2 blocks from Koronet in Washington Heights. Best hangover cure ever.
Don’t see your favorite here? Tell us about it in the comments and it might make our list!